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Brief Published: 19 Sep 2014

South Korea's ‘Chill Out’ Competition

Urban relaxation

Korean performance group Elec2ronic Ship has launched a competition to encourage the residents of Seoul – South Korea's capital city – to chill out.

The contest, which begins on October 27, will require participants to sit quietly on chairs in Seoul Plaza and "space out". The winner will be the contestant who becomes the most relaxed – judged by their heart rate and responsiveness.

"Because of smart devices, we are unable to escape from external stimulation even for a moment," said Miss Oops, a member of Elect2ronic Ship. "In such a society, I wanted to contemplate the idea of not doing anything."

Citizens in South Korea lead a hyper-connected, frenetic lifestyle. More than 78% of them use smartphones – this figure rises to more than 80% of those aged between 12-19. In 2013, a government survey estimated that nearly 20% of teenagers were "addicted" to their smartphones.

Increasing competition for jobs, the rising cost of housing and an intensive education system are also contributing to rising stress levels in the city, where suicide rates are among the highest in the world.

For more on how brands can help consumers tackle stress and provide a respite from hectic lifestyles, read Battling Busyness.